Posts Tagged Alberta

More Watchkeeper drone news this week?

The long delayed Watchkeeper surveillance drone programme has been barely in the news for months, even as deadlines were missed, and the UK military operations in Afghanistan wind down. But news this week may put it in the spotlight again.

There is a joint summit between Francois Hollande and David Cameron this week at RAF Brize Norton this week.

This is ostensibly to restart the joint defense treaty/arms trade strategy that the two countries negotiated in 2010, which ploughed into quicksand when the Parti Socialiste won the French elections in 2012 and promptly reviewed the arms  procurement arrangements made by the Sarkozy government.

Writing in Defense News, Andrew Chuter and Pierre Tran have speculated that the conversation could involve a statement of French interest in the British-Israeli Watchkeeper drone.

Thales, the French arms company,  is the prime contractor and partner with Elbit Systems of Israel in the Watchkeeper programme, which has belatedly resulted in a British built drone based on the Israeli Hermes 450. Thales fortunes appeared to rise after the election of the Socialistes, while its rival Dassault appeared to fall.

Thales has been lobbying hard to have the French government buy the Watchkeeper drone, and French operators have flown the drone at Parc Aberporth in Wales. It is also believed that they may fly the drone this summer in Canada, possibly at the UK training base at Suffield Aberta.

Also discussed at the summit may be a proposal to build an armed combat drone, in which France’s Dassault and Britain’s BAE might build the airframe, Thales and Silex the electronics, Rolls Royce and Snecma the engine, according the Chuter and Tran. Proponents want the programme to begin immediately, ostensibly so that the French air force that evaluate how an armed drone would fit into ‘the operational picture’. Though why they couldn’t just use a Predator drone acquired from the US for that purpose isn’t clear.

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Le Commerce des Armes Au Quebec et Alberta

Oxfam-Québec maintient une campagne contre le commerce mondial des armes.

Il ya beaucoup d’entreprises au Québec qui ont un rôle dans le commerce des armes. Toujours en Alberta.
Par exemple, Pratt and Whitney Canada maintient usines dans les deux provinces. Pratt and Whitney  fabrique des moteurs pour les drones israéliens, entre autres.

(D’autres, plus tard)

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UAV’s for Domestic Surveillance in Canada

Airstar International has tried to sell its Airstar drone to law enforcement agencies and energy companies for use to patrol energy installations in the Dawson Creek area of British Columbia, where someone has been bombing installations at night. The Skyhawk would provide thermal imaging and patrol the sites at night. (Source)

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Alberta Government Promotes Local Arms Industry

The Government of Alberta has dedicated resources to supporting and developing the arms industry in Alberta, citing the location of  defence establishments in Alberta, for example Camp Wainwright, Cold Lake Air Weapons Range, Suffield Base

It recently published information supporting the arms industry in Alberta.

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Project Noctua

Project Noctua is the program by which the Canadian DND leases drones from contractors, specifically leasing Israel Aeronautic Industries Heron drones from IAI’s Canadian partner, MacDonald Dettwiler. REF

In 2008, Peter Mackay, Minister of National Defense, ‘quietly awarded’ the contract for drones for use in Afghanistan to the IAI Macdonald Dettwiler consortium, after the contractors for the US Predator drone bowed out of the bidding because the size of the contract wasn’t worth their trouble. REF

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Canada and Australia support Israeli drone program

Recently Australia has received a Heron drone and training in operating Heron drones from Canada. This is a bit perplexing, since one wonders why Australia doesn’t get its drones straight from Israel.

The drones are presumably acquired through the partnership between Israel Aerospace Industries and MacDonald Dettwiler of Canada, which has an operation at Suffield Alberta, where it tests UAVs and trains operators for the drones that Canada has acquired from Israel.

Australia appears to have plans to acquire more drones, and the fact that they are already using a Heron drone suggests that future drones may also be acquired from Israel, providing support for the Israeli arms industry.

Australian drone operators are being absorbed into the Canadian Heron UAV detachment at Kandahar Afghanistan.

More information here.

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